The Elephant & The Tortoise is a public artwork commissioned by London Borough of Waltham Forest.
The 4m x 2m tall stainless steel sculpture commemorates British Xylonite’s Halex Factory which stood on the same site in Highams Park between 1897 and 1971. Built in 1897, Highams Park literally grew up around the factory, which was perhaps most famous for having a worldwide monopoly on the production of table tennis balls. Interestingly, the factory practically invented plastic. Parkesin, later to become known as Celluloid, was initially used to make substitute ivory and tortoiseshell products.
One of their original trademarks was an etching of an Elephant and Tortoise walking arm in arm, which Barford took as inspiration for the sculpture.